Watched and was totally surprised by: Playing House
File under: A solid sitcom, See also: It’s from USA network and it’s not about men wearing suits!
I don’t turn to the USA Network for much of anything outside reruns of Olivia Benson tracking down predators on Law & Order: SVU. In fact, as far as I can tell most of their original programming revolves around men wearing suits and walking into sunsets. So to hear that a female centric, comedy sitcom from USA was getting some critical praise was rather surprising.
Playing House follows two childhood best friends who took very different paths in life. Emma escaped her small town problems with a career overseas, while Maggie pursued family life in the same small town she loved. After Maggie discovers her husband has cheated on her with a German woman online (“Well apparently there is a whole online group of women who specialize in putting things up their butts." This is the line that solidified my enjoyment of the pilot), Emma moves home to help Maggie raise her baby and suddenly they’re both on the same path again.
The show sweetly explored the continuity of female friendship, and the comedy that ensues when two childhood friends settle back into old ways…as they’re both attempting to take a big step forward. I love the chemistry between Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair (I’ve read they’re actually best friends), without it this show probably wouldn’t work so well. While the central plot revolves around Maggie and Emma’s friendship, as the show progressed I came to enjoy the side characters as well. Zach Woods (who is definitely killin’ it this year), only shows up every other episode, but he’s a fully awesome addition to the cast. Not to mention the revolving door of comedic guest stars and the ever present and entertaining Keegan-Michael Key.
This show is the kind of sitcom I can get on board with. I really hope it gets renewed for a second season.